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    Lily@Melbourne, Australia


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The Social Animal



People tend to choose spouses of similar intelligence, and the easiest way to measure someone else’s intelligence is through their vocabulary. People with an 80 IQ will know words such as ‘fabric,’ ‘enormous,’ and ‘conceal’ but not words such as ‘sentence,’ ‘consume,’ and ‘commerce.’ People with 90 IQs will know the latter three words, but probably not ‘designate,’ ‘ponder,’ or ‘reluctant.’ So people who are getting to know each other subconsciously measure to see if their vocabularies mesh, and they adapt to the other person’s level.

Baby has all the physical features that naturally attract a mother’s love; big eyes, a large forehead, a small mouth and chin. These features arouse deep responses in all humans, whether they are on babies or Mickey Mouse or E.T.

Parents have to provide their kids with stable and predictable rhythms. They need to be able to fall in tune with their kids’ needs, combining warmth and discipline. They need to establish the secure emotional bonds that kids can fall back upon in the face of stress. They need to be there to provide living examples of how to cope with the problems of the world so that their child can develop unconscious models in their heads. ‘All of us, from cradle to grave, are happiest when life is organized as a series of excursions, long or short, from the secure base provided by our attachment figures.

If you can surround a person with a new culture, a different web of relationships, then they will absorb new habits of thoughts and behaviours in ways you will never be able to measure or understand. And if you do surround that person with a new, enriching culture, then you had better keep surrounding them with it because if they slip back into a different culture, then most of the gains will fade away.

The Academy started from the ground up. It taught its students to look at someone who was talking to them, how to sit up in class, how to nod to signal agreement, how to shake hands and say hello on first meeting. They spent the first weeks of school to learn how to walk down the hall, how to carry their books, how to say ‘Excuse me’. If they did the small stuff right, the big stuff would be much easier to master latter on. Middle-class kids may have learned these lessons automatically, but poor kids had to be taught.
This learning-to-see model emphasizes the power of community to shape character. It’s very hard to build self-control alone. It also emphasizes the power of small and repetitive action to rewire the fundamental mechanisms of the brain. Small habits and proper etiquette reinforce certain positive ways of seeing the world. Good behaviour strengthens certain networks.

The country of my childhood lives within me with a primacy that is a form of love. It has fed me language, perceptions, sounds, the human kind. It has given me colours and the furrows of reality, my first loves. The absoluteness of those loves can never be recaptured. No geometry of the landscape, no haze in the air, will live in us as intensely as the landscapes that we saw as the first, and to which we gave ourselves wholly, without reservation.

A university gives student a chance to be around affluent people and to see how they behaved with one another. She learns how they socialized, how they greeted each other. At there, student acquires ‘cultural capital’ – the tastes, opinions, cultural references, and conversational styles that will enable you to rise in polite society. The rich kids has been to China and spent a summer in high school teaching kids in Haiti. They know who Lauren Bacall was, and where F. Scott Fitzgerald went to school. They seemed to get every reference the professors threw out. They knew how to structure papers in ways that she had never been taught. She took a look at those kids and thought about her friends back in the neighbourhood who were still working at the mall or hanging out on the street. Her friends back home were forever behind.

Cultures do not exist as simply static differences, to be celebrated. They compete with one another as better and worse ways of getting things done – better and worse, not from the standpoint of some observer, but from the standpoint of the peoples themselves, as they cope and aspire amid the gritty realities of life.

Wisdom doesn’t consist of knowing specific facts or processing knowledge of a field. It consists of knowing how to treat knowledge: being confident but not too confident; adventurous but grounded. It is a willingness to confront counterevidence and to have a feel for the vast spaces beyond what’s known.

Everyday life is structured by tiny rules of etiquette, women generally leave the elevator first. The fork goes on the left. These politeness rules may seem trivial, but they nudge us to practice little acts of self-control. They rewire and strengthen networks in the brain.
The first generation of human-capital policies gave people access to schools, colleges, and training facilities. Second-generation policies would have to help them develop the habits, knowledge, and mental traits they needed to succeed there. Second-generation human-capital policies have to pay attention to the hidden curriculum of life as much as to the overt one.

At first, she had been anxious and self-conscious when chatting with global celebrities. But the awe fell away pretty quickly, and now it was just like the same old knitting circle gathered once again at a different world resort.

After a life-time spent preparing for things and building for things, he was finally free from the burden of the future. How pleasant is the day, when we give up striving to be young- or slender.
爸爸妈妈都嗜糖,现在我很少会去宣传糖尿病,因为他们 finally free from the burden of the future,享受每日每刻才是他们的人生目标。有些伤感,可这就是人生吧。



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